Book Review: The Hot Zone by Richard Preston

So, germs are freaking scary.


As humans we tend to think of ourselves as being separate from nature. Above it, in a way. We imagine ourselves as the supreme life forms on the planet, able to bend the environment to our will. Sometimes it is easy to forget that nature still has its own cards to play. And germs are freaking scary.

About the Book

Title: The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus

Author: Richard Preston

Published: 1994

Series: (standalone)

Genre: nonfiction, science, medicine

My Rating: 5/5 stars


The Premise

Synopsis (from Goodreads) (truncated):

“A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic “hot” virus. The Hot Zone tells this dramatic story, giving a hair-raising account of the appearance of rare and lethal viruses and their “crashes” into the human race.”

My Thoughts

A hot virus from the rain forest lives within a twenty-four-hour plane flight from every city on earth. All of the earth’s cities are connected by a web of airline routes. The web is a network. Once a virus hits the net, it can shoot anywhere in a day—Paris, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, wherever planes fly

The Hot Zone is narrative nonfiction that chronicles the origin and spread of the Marburg and Ebola viruses, both of which literally liquefy your body and cause you to explode into a pool of blood. It contains some of the grossest passages I’ve had the misfortune to read and makes me, well, very grateful that coronavirus was so comparatively mild of a virus to cause a pandemic. Like, imagine if we had an Ebola pandemic instead.

This book was extremely disturbing to read, although it kept me glued to my seat and I learned a lot of stuff. It was written like a thriller, which made it really engrossing. But of course, me being me, now that I’ve read this, the next time I get a headache, I’m going to be thinking in the back of my head that I’m patient 0 of the next mysterious variant…


The Verdict

This book was very very interesting although quite scary! I would definitely recommend it if you want to read some narrative nonfiction that will teach you a lot about how nature is out to get you.

Have you read The Hot Zone by Richard Preston? If so, what did you think of it? Feel free to leave a comment!

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